Some friends of ours are adopting 2 children from an orphanage in Haiti called Foyer de Sion. Because of the food shortage and riots going on in Haiti, their already limited 2 meals a day of rice and beans have been cut down even further. They get hardly (if any) produce and all the children have parasites living in their bodies which rob them further of nutrition. We are so fortunate in the U.S. to not have to suffer like so many millions of people – especially children – around the world do.
The adoptive parents have joined together to get a 40 foot container filled with food to be shipped over to the orphanage to feed the more than 300 children who live there. Please consider making a donation to the orphanage using PayPal to help feed these starving kids. Please be sure to note that your donation is for the “Food Freight For Foyer Campaign”. A mere $7.00 donation would feed 63 children at the orphanage for two days; $100 would buy nearly 200 pounds of staple foods like rice, sugar, flour, and powdered milk.
If you wish to donate actual food items, the container truck will be traveling across several states in July picking up donated food. If you are in Colorado, contact me and I will be sure your donated food gets on the truck when it stops at our friends’ house. It will take 36,000 pounds of food to fill the container being sent to the orphanage. They are collecting non-perishable food items, specifically the following:
Powdered Baby Formula (any kind)
Dried Beans (any kind)
Oatmeal and Other Hot Cereals
Canned and Dried Meats
If you are a blogger, please consider helping to spread this message on your blog and my friend Julie at ChezArtz may reward you with a $25 Target Gift Card for doing so. Just leave her a message at that link and put the button on your blog.
If you are not a blogger, please forward this message to your friends and families and help spread the word about the dire situation in Haiti and how we can all help – even just a little bit can make a huge difference in the lives of these children.
We went to a wedding for an old friend this past holiday weekend which was in Omaha, NE. We live in CO so we had to basically drive through the entire flat section of CO as well as the entire state of NE.
Now I know I live a semi-sheltered existence in my county of many aware people who keep up on things, are concerned for the environment, what they eat, getting out and exercising and even spiritual enlightenment for some. I guess I’m just not comfortable witnessing the devastation of the earth by large, corporate mono-crop farmers (most likely all using evil Monsanto seed and products). It was tough for me to drive through all of that and see hardly any trees, just mono crops and then feedlots of cattle who were crammed inside the fences and we saw very few areas in the state of free grazing cattle. I kept thinking, we slaughtered the Native Americans to do this? I just felt so bad for the earth and the animals. There was so much sad energy emanating all over the place there. My husband felt the same.
We finally get to Omaha and it’s more of the same except with small clusters of new housing communities and strip malls and office bldgs. It felt to me like everyone was walking around asleep, completely unaware and just towing the line and believing all the b.s. fed to them. I did hear that there was a Whole Foods somewhere in the city so that gave me some hope for some conscious people but then I heard there are a bunch of transplants living there for big corporate jobs like our friend moved there for.
The wedding itself was on this very nice horse property and there was a pond with ducks, geese and bullfrogs, big trees to climb and of course, lots of horses. All the little kids there had a blast just from engaging with nature. Leif loved the bullfrogs in the pond.
There was a woman there with 2 kids. She was our friend’s next door neighbor. Her son was the same age as our son and they kept running off and were constantly standing at the edge of the pond. She was with her 1 year old daughter by the pond and told us she’d watch Leif while we went in the lodge bldg. for food. A few minutes later, her daughter falls into the pond so she scoops her up and leaves the 2 boys who were all the way on the other side of the pond alone, says nothing to them or us. Michael and I were watching them all anyway because she seemed odd, like she was heavily medicated or something (but I later found out that she was not, many people there acted like this). I take off my heels and run all the way around the pond so as not to have my very clutzy child fall in the water and drown before I get there.
Needless to say, I was a little annoyed that this mother would just walk away and when she saw me running, she was like “oh, my daughter fell in the pond, I have to dry her off!” Man, I just felt like shaking her to wake up and pay attention and wound up taking turns with Michael watching both boys all afternoon until she left.
I was surprised about the food at the wedding. We thought it would be something amazing because this friend is very gourmet – loves to cook and loves coming back to CO and meeting up with groups of people at different ethnic restaurants because he says the food sucks in NE – all steakhouses! Clearly, it was his wife’s choosing of the caterers.
There was not one thing there that I could eat – not even a carrot stick or lettuce leaf or piece of fruit it was all barbeque! I wound up eating a little of the coleslaw because I was starving and the only veggies were coleslaw or egg potato salad. Mr. Picky was not happy with any of the food choices and ate the pretzels that were out on the table and that was it until I went and got some of his snacks in the car.
Personally, I think from all the massive chemicals used on crops, all the crap in the meat from the factory farming practices (and their large consumption of meat) and the polluted water, air, etc it’s no wonder people acted the way they did. I felt like an alien in that state. Just watching that woman feed her (wet) one year old, the kid had food stains all over her (and I mean bad) and she was wearing a white dress. I wanted to give her a napkin to put on the little girl but I didn’t. I tried to talk to her but it was like she wasn’t there, even when talking about her kids – always a safe topic with strangers. Thank God for the wedding people that flew in from the coasts and the fellow Coloradans.
Many of these people were from my husband’s old job many years ago and they all remembered us as the couple who lived in the yurt. Some of them asked me so many questions about living off the grid in a yurt in the mountains. It was fun to reminisce since we sold it 5 years ago now (for work reasons). One guy that worked with my husband that I never met before told me that we so inspired him and he had pictures up all over of yurts and solar power and did lots of research on it and wanted to live in one and then he had to move for a job to OR and his girlfriend (now wife) was not into living an alternative lifestyle. He really was into talking all about it which was so fun for me because we really loved living like that for 3 years plus all the years we spent beforehand planning it all. One day again we will buy land and build an alternative home and compound. (I will post all about living the off the grid life in a yurt soon).
I mean no disrespect to anyone from NE that may read this. I was only pointing out the vast differences in consciousness and lifestyle that we noticed. I really got a good look at “You are what you eat” firsthand once again and it just reaffirmed to me personally how happy I am living on live, organic foods and how lucky I am to be aware of that fact and have that choice.
Leif kept asking in the car ride home, “Are we in Colorado yet?”. And we would tell him “No, still in Nebraska” and he’d say, “I want to be in Colorado”. Even the 4 year old felt it. All 3 of us were just so happy to return home to our slice of reality which is just oh so nice we are not leaving the state all summer!
Oprah is doing a 3 week cleanse by eating a vegan diet (prepared by a chef, of course). Recently, she had a woman on her show named Kathy Freston who wrote the book, Quantum Wellnesswhich is about conscious eating – eating a (cooked) vegan diet and having a daily spiritutal practice. The plan is to eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from your diet for up to 21 days to jump start your “inner makeover”.
Oprah said since reading A New Earth and doing the classes online with Eckhart Tolle, reading Kathy’s thoughts on “conscious eating” struck a nerve with her. She says, “How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” You can read Oprah’s blog posts about it.
While I think this is truly phenomenal because she is a woman who inspires millions and will wake people up to the reality of unconsciously eating factory farmed animals, a mostly cooked vegan diet for someone who is overweight or has certain health problems is not always the best. I looked over her menus and saw just a few raw vegan dishes and, in my opinion from having my own health issues, raw vegan is the optimal way to healing your body AND being spiritually conscious with what you are eating. It doesn’t have to be 100% raw, but at least 60% or more. And Oprah has a thyroid condition and should not be eating soy products at all. Soy is not really that good for the body and there is much documentation out there about this (google it if you don’t believe me) and there are several dishes with tofu, tempeh or soy milk that she is eating.
I hope if she decides to stay on a vegan path that her buddy Dr. Oz (a cardiologist), who eats lots of raw foods and has his own personal raw vegan chef, will inspire her to take her conscious eating to the next level. (Dr. Oz interviewed Joel Odhner, his chef on his XM radio show last year). Go Oprah!
Mark Bittman, a NY Times food and cooking columnist and best selling cookbook author spoke at TED last year about the link between our food and global warming, environmental degradation, and human health problems. His talk is really well done and is worth watching.
Lately I’ve been a bit obsessed with making this delicious treat for myself. My husband loves it, too and it is super fast to make. My son, well, he’s a purist and wants only vanilla but when i get him to take one bite he admits that it’s good.
I thought I would share the recipe since we are coming into strawberry season now. I use a high-speed blender (Vita-Mix) but I think a food processor would work just as well- it just may take a bit longer. The consistency it makes is like soft serve ice cream and it tastes like either a creamy sorbet or a frozen yogurt to me. I usually top it with a raw chocolate sauce I make. OMG, it’s so amazingly gooood!
I’ve tried this recipe with raw honey before and I think it just works and tastes better with the raw agave. Both are available at your local health food store. I’ve frozen the left overs in a container and once it thaws out a bit, the same soft serve consistency is still there. I will never grow tired of this recipe and you can substitute any berry but you do need the bananas to make the creamy base.
Raw Strawberry Ice “Cream”
1 pint of strawberries * 2 bananas * 1 tsp. lemon juice * 1-2 Tbsp. raw agave nectar
Wash and de-stem strawberries and peel bananas and cut into chunks. Freeze strawberries and bananas in a bag in freezer for a few hours. When frozen, put all in the blender with lemon juice and agave and blend. You will have to stop and scrape down sides or use the “pusher stick” to get it all blended but total blending should be no more than a few of minutes to get a soft serve like consistency.
Yield: 3 cups.
Raw Cacao Powder * Raw Agave Nectar
In a bowl, add some cacao powder (I don’t measure) probably around a quarter cup full and then drizzle some raw agave (aprox. 1 or 2 Tbsp.) and mix until you get a smooth, chocolate consistency. Yummm. Drizzle over the soft serve. You can also use this simple sauce to dip fruit pieces or nuts in and freeze or eat as is. It can also be gently warmed (can do the double-boiler method but don’t let temp get over 118 deg.) to be more like a hot fudge.
I’m not sure if Whole Foods or someplace like that has the raw cacao powder, there’s a good chance they might now. I order mine in bulk internet orders so I don’t know but it is vastly, supremely better than any cooked chocolate out there (even dark or bittersweet – still cooked and stripped of the vital nutrients).
Raw Cacao is also considered a “superfood” and the highest in any food for magnesium, antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s also loaded with other great minerals and nutrients that are good for you. Plus it tastes so damn good! Check out this post I wrote all about raw chocolate for Valentine’s Day for more cacao info.
Kevin Gianni from Renegade Health shows a nice visual of what the difference is between organically grown and conventionally grown produce. Especially important to remember is about the little kids – the chemicals effect them even moreso than an adult and builds up fast in their little bodies.
If you eat conventional produce, make sure it has a peel or removable skin on it like bananas and avocados. Check out EWG’s Guide To Pesticides In Produce to see the chart from the highest (peaches) to the lowest (onions) in chemical residue. I think Kevin’s image in the video above is enough to make anyone think twice about what they are actually allowing to go into their bodies to nourish their cells. Do you think those chemicals nourish your cells – or maybe do something else?!
I came across this blog post recently on greenlivingbuilding.com that is something I’ve been thinking a lot about myself since I’ve gone raw. This person said it so well, I thought I would list some of their facts from the post in italics with my comments on this thrown in as well.
Raising food for human consumption creates 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than 130 times the total of human generated greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of pollution created just to grow and deliver animal food to our tables is extraordinarily high.
And water used to raise animals for human food is equally high. Here are some of the worst offenders:
4500 liters of water for one steak.
1000 liters of water for one liter of milk.
1170 liters of water for one chicken breast.
1440 liters of water for one serving of pork.
840 liters of water for one pot of coffee.
2500 liters of water for one piece of cheese.
Compare that to 70 liters of water used to deliver one apple.
These stats are so shocking when you read that in black and white. 4,500 liters of water for one steak? That’s not even 1% of the cow! It’s crazy, really. Plus, all of the grain to feed the cows stuck on those cruel, barbaric factory farmed feedlots. It gets expensive so the feedlot owners went the cannibalism route – it gets the cows weight up faster so more money for them. You do know that they feed cows, who are herbivores, rendered dead cows and other animals including cats and dogs, don’t you? Mad cow, anyone? I wonder how much water is wasted on that heinous act. If you eat red meat, at least buy pasture raised (grass-fed) beef from companies you can trust!
Reducing the percentage of animal foods in your diet is one of the most effective ways to help our environment. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your health at the same time. Two benefits in one!
Since I’ve gone raw, even when I was only 80% raw in January, I realized that I make so much more compost everyday and that I myself hardly throw away anything and only have to recycle a few things. I make very little garbage now. It feels so good to know that whatever I’m eating, if there is any waste it can go feed the squirrels outside or go on the compost pile. My little Bio Bag compost bin and bags we have been using the past several years is way too small for what our needs are now. I need a trash can sized compost bin nowadays!
Another benefit (to me, anyway) is that my child sees me eating all these different veggies, fruits, nuts and sprouts prepared in different ways and is very intrigued. He calls me “the cooking guy” since I’m always whipping up some new recipe and oohing and ahhing over it to him. Even though he is very picky about eating combination foods, his intake of simple fruit and veggies and raw nuts and seeds has gone up so much everyday now. This is huge for me. I can put a pile of spinach leaves in front of him and he will eat it. An entire apple or pear, he eats all of it and bananas, forget it. He can eat 3 or 4 in a day (and no, they are not constipating). Tonight, he tried some raw asparagus we got from the farmer’s market (which was so delicious!). He even drank some of a green juice I made last night which consisted of: collard greens, cucumbers, celery, wheatgrass and an entire lemon and he drank at least 2 ounces of it. That’s so amazing!! He’s really trying out new foods in the plant world and I couldn’t be happier.
And, my husband, a determined omnivore, well his increase in vegan meals and raw vegan foods (he’s so into juicing now) has gone up greatly and the cooking of flesh foods has dropped tremendously. All his choice, I don’t push my food on him but I do ask for him to taste the recipes I make and give me his opinion because my taste buds have definitely changed from detoxing these past 5 months. I have sampled some bites of cooked vegan foods recently when I was cooking for them and I thought, “yuck”. It felt heavy and dense and slow. I know that sounds weird but that’s how it felt and it was some of my favorite cooked foods like couscous and quinoa. I can just imagine what I would think if I ate some chicken or red meat now.
I am so into the high frequency I feel off the living foods. It’s kind of hard to describe but it feels like this total connection to the plants and the earth and to being part of the cycle of life itself. Raw, living foods took the blinders off my eyes and my mind and I feel re-awakened, balanced and more clear again.
And do you know what is the original raw food we mammals get to eat? Breastmilk!
The third Friday of every May has been declared Endangered Species Day. It is a day to educate yourselves and your children about what animals and plant life are on the list and what simple actions you can take at home to help make a positive change for endangered species and other wildlife and fauna all around you.
One of the animals listed, the Grey Wolf, has technically been “delisted” several weeks ago. This, in my opinion, is a travesty. They need the protection from our government because it is now open season on hunting these wise and beautiful creatures who help to keep the balance of the forest and the health of the herd of other species such as elk.
I have a deep, personal connection with the grey wolf. One summer, when living on a ranch in the mountains of CO, (the same location where I met my husband and got married), I had the chance to live with and bond with a 3 year old grey wolf named Cloud that was the pet of one of my housemates. The wolf and I bonded immediately and he soon started following me around everywhere and even wanted to sleep in my room at night instead of with his dad. This did not go over well with my housemate but he worked a lot and different hours than me so I soon became Cloud’s surrogate mom.
This wolf was so smart, loving and playful and really acted as my protector, too. One day, Cloud and I went for a hike down to the creek nearby which was about 1,000′ lower in elevation so I could harvest some plants that grew there to make medicine. I got caught up in the plant world, kept wandering and wildcrafting and when I was finally done we started hiking back up and I realized, I was lost deep in the forest! I had lost the small animal-made trail we followed down. It was late afternoon, it would be getting to be dusk soon and I was worried because of the bears and mountain lions that also lived in the forest and I had seen them on occasion on the ranch property before. I started running up the mountain since I was more than an hour away from home.
Cloud wasn’t worried, he was happy being out on our adventure running with me like one of his pack and I kept saying to him, “we need to go home, where’s home?” He was the one to eventually lead me back towards the ranch, running off in one direction and stopping to look back at me as if to tell me “this way”, with his sense of direction being much better than mine!
My housemate and Cloud eventually moved out of state, I offered to adopt Cloud and my housemate said no way. I was very sad over them leaving but what a gift I got in spending so much quality time with such a magnificent animal. I will never forget him.
The northern rocky mountain states such as Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have it out for the grey wolf. The plan is for killing off 39% of the 732 total wolves that live in the wild. Many are the collared, reintroduced to the wild adults and are highly tracked and studied since wolves were exterminated to extinction in the wild.
Earthjustice and 11 other conservation groups* filed a federal court lawsuit challenging the federal government’s decision to remove the northern rockies gray wolf population from the list of endangered species. They also filed a request for a preliminary injunction in order to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves until the court issues a final decision on the merits of this case.
The injunction states:
“We maintain that wolves should not have been stripped of federal protections so soon because they are not yet recovered in the Northern Rockies region and the state management plans currently in place are woefully inadequate, not based on current science, and do not ensure the long term survival of the Northern Rockies gray wolf.”
“Since delisting, a spate of wolf killings by a variety of methods—pursuing wolves long distances with snowmobiles, shooting wolves from the roadside, and lying in wait for wolves at state-run elk feedgrounds—demonstrates the need now, as much as ever, to protect wolves under the Endangered Species Act.”
In Native American teachings, the wolf represents the supreme guardian, the teachers, the wisdom keepers. They are loyal, family oriented, playful, loving, wise beings. They kill to survive and feed their children as other carnivores do. They don’t take more than they need and keep the sick, old and frail animals they prey on from suffering a long, strung out death of illness or starvation.
I hope you can take action and give some support – even just signing an online petition to help protect this amazing animal from cruel, senseless murder.
*Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, and Wildlands Project.
Over the past few months, I’ve read a few different articles about a man named Kipp Nash who runs an urban farming project here in Colorado that has turned into a CSA called Community Roots. He basically got several of his neighbors to allow him to turn their front lawns into garden beds for food production using intensive growing techniques – he calls them “mini organic farms.” He’s even added a program to harvest his neighbors’ untended fruit trees, too.
Nash provides all of the labor with the help of some volunteers in removing the grass, planting, weeding, irrigating, tending and harvesting the crops. He then divides up the weekly harvest between what each neighbor gets and what he sells. He calls it a modern day version of sharecropping. The word is out about his Community Roots project and he has more houses of people waiting for him to transform their front lawns into lush crops of organic food. He has also created real community between all of his neighbors by doing this. Someone is training with him now to establish this type of urban farming in another part of his town, too. Hopefully one day we will see no more front lawns and only lush, organic veggie gardens everywhere in suburbia.
I am so inspired by this. Front lawns are such a waste of water, effort, resources and space! If you own that land, why not put in productive plant life whether it be flowers, herbs or veggies there instead of grass? That is the way it used to be a long time ago for the working class. Growing your own medicinal herbs and some food for your family was the norm. Lawns are great for play areas in the backyard, but they don’t have to take over everything.
I wish I could get something started like that where I live but living on a somewhat busy street in a school zone, it’s not likely that it would go over well in my area. I just keep adding flower beds and removing more lawn from in front of my house instead. We have expanded our backyard garden space by adding two new beds in different areas and added more large planters for more herbs and for my son’s special garden plants area. We gave him two large planters so he could water them and tend to them as he likes and watch his special plants grow and so that he doesn’t accidentally destroy part of our main garden.
There is another urban farming site called Path To Freedom in Pasadena, CA who call themselves “urban homesteaders” and they have many garden beds in all of the available space including the entire front lawn and even the driveway! They have several fruit trees and shrubs and even some chickens, goats and bees. They produce so much food on their small one-fifth of an acre property that they sell to restaurants and other people and feed themselves almost exclusively from it. Dateline NBC is featuring them very soon on their show. You know if that is happening, people are curious to know more about living this way.
With food and gas prices rising so much, we are going to have to rely more on ourselves and our local community more than ever and that is a good thing. There is just no reason why we humans can’t grow some of our own food even if it’s just tomatoes and basil plants in large planters on your balcony or back porch. It’s so empowering eating something that you yourself cared for and grew. Plus the produce just tastes so much better having been picked just before you eat it in your meal. And even just doing this small act connects you to the natural world even if you live in a high rise apartment building. Think about how much this will teach your children, too in so many different ways and on different levels.
Take back your power, people! Grow something edible this summer and feel empowered!
I have been researching which new water bottles I want to switch us over to now that I know the majority of my heavily used water bottles are polycarbonate #7 bottles and unfortunately, full of BPA. I live in a dryer climate and love using my water bottles so much, I carry one everywhere I go. I even started to use it all the time in my house, too a few years ago because I found with a little kid around, a glass of water on a desk or table got knocked over more than I liked.
I feel like pounding my head into the wall over this because BPA is a hormone disruptor and causes infertility issues and has even been specifically indicated in a hormone disorder I have. Needless to say, I’m seriously upset over this.
I saw this post today called “BPA-free water bottle showdown” over at the Gardenaut blog and have to give big kudos to them for taking the time to test so many details that I definitely wanted to know about. It’s a really great review.
One of the Thermos brand and Kleen Kanteen brand water bottles they reviewed are similar to one we have here that my husband bought a long, long time ago for carrying his coffee in a briefcase (and never uses anymore). It’s a stainless steel, double walled 18 oz screw top lid with cup on top. I never thought about using it for water (and the double wall will insulate ice water to keep it cold for hours) because I’m a straw-top water bottle kind of girl. We call it “mama’s sippy” around here since my son likes straw-top sippy cups and water bottles the best, too. I’ve switched to using this stainless steel bottle and thanks to this new guide, I will find myself a new straw-top, BPA-free “mama sippy” once again.
I tell ya, you must keep up on everything nowadays. There is so much toxic, chemical crap in our water bottles, toys, food, baby items, household products, cleaning products, bodycare products, clothing, landscaping products, etc. You must read labels, read news articles, stay informed to keep yourself and your family as toxin-free as possible. No wonder so many people in this country develop weird, funky diseases and/or cancer. We are so over-exposed to toxins and basically our bodies are massively toxed out!
Everyone would benefit from doing a detox diet or flush a few times a year. It really pays off for your health in the long run.